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Be Here Now: New Albums 6-22-18 – 6-28-18 Reviewed

International Artist – A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – A Boogie, one of the r&b hip hop good guys, recently appeared at the Hip Hop Latin American crossover show at Barclays center, and here he uses his expertise to include Latin Trap, Dance Hall, and more,  on this 26 minute album. Highlights include Jessie Reyez on “Pretending” and Tory Lanez on “Best Friend,” but it is all really good – B+

Expectations – Bebe Rexha – – Generic pop pap and yeah, that’s a a put down, but within its confines it does the disposable duty with aplomb – C+

One – Birdtalker – Married couples songwriting together, it’s always more interesting when you’re sleeping with one of em than when you aren’t. This is a draggy indie folk effort by a married couple and their friends – C

Dan + Shay – Dan + Shay – This country duo won’t change your life but they are consistently intelligent lyrically, simple and sweet love songs like “Speechless” or clever rhymes like “Tequila,” on top of sturdy country structures and rock solid melodies, that moves between close harmony and background singing. No more, certainly no less – B+

Passwords – Dawes – Simultaneously literate and dim-witted, Dawes is what happens when you turn Jackson Browne into mush, they make you appreciate how the early Rilo Kiley managed to be young and old at the same time and how these guys are just missing it. Usually they are good for a song or two, but the spaces between a “Time Spent In Los Angeles” or an “All Your Favorite Bands” is as wide as the distance between “Time Spent In Los Angeles”  and “All Your Favorite Bands”. Passwords isn’t a bad album because the best song is the indifferent “Crack The Case” or because the overblown “Time Flies Either Way” isn’t the heavy statement album ender they believe it to be. It is that and how a band tapping So Cal soft rock for all it’s worth can’t write many memorable tunes, and zero on this dog with fleas – MUST TO AVOID – C-

Year Of The Snitch – Death Grips – Mix and match experimental beats and electronic palaver with raps like shrapnel thrown in and detonating – B

Freddie – Freddie Gibbs – “2 Legit” is fabulous, the gangsterisms stick, the trapisms are because, hey, a man’s gotta eat, but the rapping is so good he makes sense of those who consider him the best in the business…  it can get a touch obvious  – B+

Gang Gang Dance – Kazuashita – Experimental art, electro art that can sometimes get a little too far out there, but on occasion, “J-Tree” for instance, they find the song in the sounds and hit magic – B

Garbage – Version 2.0 – (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – This marked the other side of grunge where electronic pop dropped its guitar and went for the angular throat… the adds are nine  B-Sides and an acoustic “Medication” – B-

Heaven and Earth – Kamasi Washington – The millennial’s tenor saxophonist of choice Kamasi was last seen opening for Alt-J, but if it is crossover it sure doesn’t sound that way… 144 minute album wears out its welcome halfway through this first song – C

Plays Well with Others – Lera Lynn – Two songs by half of the Civil Wars and that will give you a sense of this strictly dour Americana from torch singer as country chanteuse Lera on this collection of duets- C+

Joytime II – Marshmello – The always Mello Marsh heads for straight ahead house and it does exactly what it is paid to do, lead you onto the dancefloor – B-

Soldier On – Mona – “a collection of songs specifically written for the human day and getting through it,” but it sounds so energetic and lousy at the same time, rock as ordinary as an average day – C+

Bad Witch – Nine Inch Nails – “Shit Mirror” is pretty good, the rest is the usual industrial rock stuff – B

Pray For The Wicked – Panic! At The Disco – In effect if not in chronology, Brendon’s second solo album, and like so many sophomore efforts it is more of the same only not as good. No “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” no “Death Of A Bachelor” or “Crazy=Genius”… so more FOB than Panic! Still, it is a lissome little rock em  sock em plus orchestration – B

K.T.S.E. – Teyana Taylor – Held together by two slabs of crossover r&b and given a greater depth by a Tupac poem, the eight song Kanye West produced reality star’s sex jams with a better sound album wins nearly every single time – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

Mixed Up (Deluxe Edition) – The Cure – The remixes suck, the extended mixes less so – C+

No Sounds Are Out of Bounds (Deluxe) – The Orb – Sleep inducing ambient house by past masters of tedium – C

All Of This Life – The Record Company – Tedious blues rockers – C

Garden – United Pursuit – Christian folk sounds – C

Chillhop Essentials Summer 2018 – Various Artists – Like trance with smooth jazz topping – C+

Luke Cage: Season 2 – Various Artists – Mostly incidental music, though five r&b tracks open proceedings and the Rakim song reminds you that he was once the poet laureate of rap – C

New Blood – Yellow Claw – EDM duo can be pretty ace when they feel like it, and a buncha singles released earlier this year, were somewhat on the impressive side. However, over an album? A little disinteresting – B-


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